Winning ways with bedding
GN expert Graham picks out some early contenders for his bedding plant of the year
Iwas at a village fete earlier in the summer with a particularly good plant stall. In place of the usual spider plants in yoghurt pots, there were dwarf bamboos, agapanthus and the very refined, namedropping worthy regal pelargonium ‘Lord Bute’, with its moody, deep crimson flowers.
I’ve grown this before, but needed a replacement plant and there they were for a pound each alongside a big plant to show us how they grow. However, this year I’ve been growing the Elegance series of regals and, if I’m honest, his Lordship just can’t compete for flower or staying power with these. I bought my plants as rooted cuttings last year, overwintered in the house on a north-facing window, potted on in April in the greenhouse and by June they were flowering fit to bust. Fabulous for garden displays right up to the frosts.
Other beauties that have me impressed already are the hot-coloured bidens. These make the old single, yellow ones look a little dated, though in their defence I must say their vigour and sunny blooms make them ideal partners to compete with the likes of Surfinia petunias in containers and beds.
My mother hit upon a classic when she let bidens ‘Beedance Painted Red’ trail down a pot rim into dwarf yellow cosmos ‘Xanthos’ in the border below. Have you a similar container that could be moved and mingle?
Finally, the petunia that everyone is talking about, ‘Baby Doll’. If you’ve grown ‘Night Sky’ you’ll know what to expect; flowers marked as though they’ve been paint-dripped on by a dodgy decorator! This time the blooms are sparkling pink on plants more compact than its blue cousin.
Bidens and cosmos get it together!
Petunia ‘Baby Doll’ is hard to ignore
Regal pelargonium ‘Imperial’ from the new Elegance series